Workplace diversity and inclusion is a fundamental topic in business circles. As famous civil rights activist Jesse Jackson once said, ‘’Inclusion is not a matter of political correctness. It is the key to growth.’’
First and foremost, it’s necessary to understand what workplace diversity is. In a broad sense, it’s the varied composition of employees in a company. This is irrespective of their gender, race, religion, age or social status.
Employees in a company may be diverse, but not included in office processes. This is why the concept of inclusion works well with diversity. Each employee should feel comfortable in an office environment.
The global push for workplace diversity and equality changes the way workplaces operate. So, effective management should promote equality and happiness among its workers.
How can you do this in your workplace?
That’s easy! Have a look at the tips below to achieve workplace diversity in your organization.
1) Make Diversity a Priority in the Hiring Process
Employee recruitment is the beginning of office diversity practices. The interview process should be friendly to potential employees. This is what often attracts quality talent to your company.
Did you know that 67% of job seekers consider workplace diversity to be a vital factor when searching for employment opportunities? In addition, 50% of current employees desire their workplaces to be more diverse.
Instead of your company’s usual interview techniques, change it up to be more inclusive.
Begin by recruiting to promote diversity. Do so using your website and social media pages to reach the appropriate target audience. Using the correct channels impresses potential employees and prompts them to apply.
While at it, come up with a mission statement that demonstrates the company’s goals and values. An outstanding mission statement is specific, has positive wording and gender-neutral language.
T-Mobile’s mission statement is one to admire:
‘’Uniqueness is powerful. Be yourself. We like it that way.’’
Your mission statement is a compelling way to attract and retain diverse employees. It’s useful to show potential clients what you’re all about. It plays an influential role in attracting qualified applicants from diverse backgrounds.
Remember to include statistics that show your current efforts toward diversity and inclusion.
Further, during the interview process, encourage recruiters to be impartial. This means they should avoid focusing on a particular group of people.
To achieve this, train them to hire employees based on merit and experience.
Thus, request recruiters to avoid asking over-personal questions that are distracting. This includes questions about religion, social background, cultural origin or orientation.
It’s best to understand your target audience so you can ask the best questions. Here are a couple of behavioral interview questions that expert recruiters often use:
- What experience have you gained from previous career roles?
- Why did you leave your previous career posts?
- How do you plan the execution of daily tasks?
- How do you handle difficult situations?
Such questions draw the focus of the interviewer to beneficial qualifications.
So, it’s time to think outside the box and get to know potential candidates on a deeper level before hiring them.
These pointers ensure that your company is diverse from the onset. As a result, your workforce benefits from a wide range of inventive individuals.
Besides that, remember your office policies to prevent instances of discrimination during interviews. It’s valuable to practice what you preach. If one of your company’s core values is fairness, ensure this is clear at every stage of the process.
The upside of staying true to your word is that potential clients begin to trust your company brand.
Additionally, you can use newsletters to inform the public how your company addresses discrimination. This enforces a sense of security in the company and attracts diverse talent.
Above all, collaborate with your current employees. Engage them in matters of workplace diversity and support constructive criticism.
1) Align Leadership With the Goal of Workplace Diversity
A Harvard Business Review survey shows several companies lack diversity in leadership. This translates to the loss of fundamental opportunities in under-utilized job markets.
It’s well-known that diversity is the key to the recognition of minority groups in offices. To achieve this, managers need to be on the same page with the company’s emergent needs.
‘’Creating and managing a diverse workforce is a process, not a destination.’’
— R. Roosevelt Thomas, Author and CEO Thomas Consulting and Training Inc.
Thus, office leaders are the face of the business and display the company’s core values. By having diverse directors, your workplace shows a desire for diversity and inclusion.
When the leaders support the idea of diversity, it’s easier to set the tone for positive changes in the office.
Have a look at how you can actively contribute to workplace diversity and inclusion:
- Stay up-to-date on global matters of workplace diversity.
- Check if the company processes foster the inclusion of diverse employees.
- Come up with non-discrimination policies.
- Communicate on efforts to improve workplace diversity.
- Promote engagement for all employees.
- Come up with employee mentorship programs for career advancement.
Remember to write an outline of the goals you have for your business. This plan will ensure you can fit diversity into the company’s long-term goals.
Thereafter, create an action plan to execute each goal. Ask yourself, ‘’What more can I do to achieve workplace diversity?’’.
Write all your ideas down and work on each one. Share this plan with your employees.
These efforts go a long way in achieving support from the right investors.
Soon after, employees will offer their support in making the workplace better.
Use these simple hacks to involve them in the company’s journey toward diversity:
- Enforce the importance of equality so they can respect each other.
- Hear them out when they would like to share their ideas.
- Distribute surveys to seek their honest opinions and suggestions.
- Provide training opportunities for workers to understand the concepts of diversity and inclusion.
- Encourage them to be more familiar with different cultures and backgrounds.
When everyone is on board with the goal of diversity, it becomes easier to observe clear progress.
Besides this, approach workplace diversity with an open mind. It will allow you to come up with creative business solutions.
2) Diversify Your Office Departments
The workspace is where employees interact with each other the most. Diversifying your office departments reduces ignorance and intolerance to diverse workers.
The development of technology facilitates companies attracting employees from all over the world. For instance, Procter and Gamble’s equality campaign aims to attract diverse workers.
Establish diverse office departments to have an advantage over competitors. But what are the best ways to diversify your workforce?
To begin with, get an idea of what your employees need. By distributing questionnaires on workplace diversity, you’re sure to get a clear picture.
It’s crucial to understand where you’re coming from to know where you’re heading to. Thus, take time to note their needs before making major changes to office departments.
Consider benchmarking companies to assess what contributes to their success in this area. Thereafter, come up with flexible strategies to adopt diversity practices in departments.
Put your plan in place and analyze your employees’ responses to department diversification. Make improvements once in a while to accommodate changes.
In the long-run, department diversity reduces ignorance and stigma about different cultures. Your employees will feel comfortable working in teams that produce quality results.
After all, employees are happier in a diverse working environment. Studies show that companies with workplace diversity outperform competitors by 35%.
Most of all, fortify this by sourcing for talent in high schools and universities. Show up at career fairs and share your company’s mission statement with the students.
Through this, you can offer internships and training programs. When students take this opportunity, it’s a chance for them to understand diversity. It’s no doubt that this will encourage them to apply for permanent positions.
On top of this, remember to update yourself on developments in employment law. The ability to properly diversify departments comes after engaging your employees.
3) Create a Safe Space for Open Communication
It’s no secret there’s a communication barrier between workers and managers. Because of this, many employees don’t feel like they are free to express their opinions in the workplace.
As a result, gender equality has become a trending topic.
The best solution is to establish great communication practices in the office. It’s for this reason that communication can either make or break your workforce. Thus, value your workers by allowing them to express themselves.
“The majority of women don’t feel included in decision making in the workplace. Additionally, they don’t feel comfortable expressing their opinions.”
— Culture Amp
Promote gender equality through open and honest communication in the workplace. In order to assess the concerns they have, treat employees as individuals rather than groups.
Hence, don’t be quick to judge them before hearing them out. Before you know it, your workers will share their insights on workplace diversity.
Reinforce this with an open-door policy. An imaginary barrier often exists between employers and employees. This friendly policy shows you’re available for conversations with employees. After all, being inaccessible hurts the company’s progress.
Soon enough, productivity rates will increase because workers love engagement.
Keep your staff up-to-date with the company policies on non-discrimination. Take time to explain the value of equality in the office alongside diversity. When there are policy updates, remember to inform them through internal newsletters.
However, having non-discrimination policies in place doesn’t guarantee 100% satisfaction. Because employees are from different backgrounds, there may be misunderstandings. That’s why sometimes it’s wise to prepare for the unpredictable.
As a consequence, establish safeguards that make issuing a complaint safe and respectful. It should be a matter of discretion and dealt with well to find a peaceful solution.
Don’t only focus on hearing out a certain group of individuals. Instead, make it easier for every worker to voice their concerns to you. This way, you can tackle workplace discrimination matters while learning about managing diversity.
4) Encourage a Multi-Generational Workforce
The word “diversity” covers a wide scope, which involves the inclusion of employees. What most managers don’t know is that having employees of different ages is admirable.
Different generations of workers boost creativity and foster team spirit.
“If you haven’t got the best talent you’re not going to be the best, if you’re not representing properly the available pool of talent then you’re missing an opportunity.”
— Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, EMEA President at Bank of America Merrill Lynch
This means millennials, Gen-X and baby boomers can be a useful part of your workforce.
Understand these age groups better by knowing their common characteristics:
- Age between 19-34.
- Are often confident and goal-oriented.
- Value positive affirmation.
- Age between 35-55.
- Appreciate constructive criticism.
- Cherish appropriate work-life balance
c) Baby Boomers
- Are the older part of your workforce.
- Age between 56-69.
- Often have a lot of experience.
- Are patient and reliable.
Understand their different needs to ensure inter-generational employees work well together. In this sense, diversity guarantees the continuation of your company in the future.
Into the bargain, a multi-generational workforce attracts potential employees and clients.
Workforce Diversity Is the Future
Diversity and inclusion strategies don’t come in just one size that fits all companies. Each business needs to know its workforce before enforcing policies. Hence the saying, ‘’Practice makes perfect.’’
Before you know it, your workplace will observe the following positive changes:
- Outperforming competitors.
- Increased innovation.
- Better global outreach.
- Impressive company reputation.
- Wide range of views toward achieving collective goals.
At the end of the day, every employee desires to feel safe in a working environment. Then, consider implementing workplace safety measures alongside workforce diversity. This is what all offices need to promote occupational safety and health.
Surprisingly enough, safety and diversity are a large part of international business practices. So, why not give these tips a try to create an excellent workplace diversity experience?
With that, keep in mind the quote below as you begin your journey toward workforce diversity.
“When we listen and celebrate what is both common and different, we become a wiser, more inclusive, and better organization.”
— Pat Wadors, Head of HR at LinkedIn